Have you ever considered how blind people understand
our world? Since
blind people can only rely on their sense of touch, hearing and smell, much of the information that
people who can see view optically with our eyes, the blind must "see" in a tactile manner, using their
hands to touch.
By scanning of surfaces with their fingertips, "plastic pictures" result in the minds of a blind
person - that is, the information that they receive by touching lets the object appear in their
which we can read with our eyes cannot be seen by blind people. For a long time in the
past, the blind were isolated and always relied on others for help. Teaching material was imparted
acoustically, and many projects failed which aimed to teach the blind the letters of the alphabet
through relief-like figures.
It was first Louis
Braille (new window)
who became blind at the age of 3, who recognized in 1820 (when he had just turned 11 years old),
that the letters of an alphabet for blind people should consist of dots, in order to clearly
differentiate each letter. Braille simplified the system of Barbier and perfected it until Braille
could finally present his own writing system for the blind in 1825 (Braille
writing, dot writing, blind alphabet, Braille code)
consisting of a system of 6 dots.
Despite initial problems surrounding the use of the Braille writing system - it was
occasionally even forbidden because sighted people believed that the Braille system would isolate
the blind even more, the blind were able to push forth with their new writing system.
Today, the braille is used in phonetically adapted form (new window)
in almost every country on earth.
Tools for blind people, like this typewriter, were especially created so that they could more
easily use their dot writing
. Books printed in Braille are not just difficult and expensive,
the resulting books are much bigger and heavier than their counterparts in print too.
is the term that blind people use for the writing system of sighted people.
Only the use of modern technology first permitted the publication of the Braille script on a
Braille display. In this way, information does not first have to be printed on paper in
order that blind people can read it. By connecting the display with a computer, a substantially
more effective use of written infomation is possible. Storage and editing are perfomed by the
computer, reading is done by outputting line by line on a Braille display. Equipment is rounded
off with printers in the Braille script.
Sighted people can also learn Braille, optically and directly at the computer! You'll
find out that it's not that hard!